Simple Assaults Lawyer
As criminal defence lawyers, we’ve come across many clients who don’t understand the gravity of the assault charges they’re facing. This is mostly due to the assumption that they might not face any serious consequences since it was just a push or a threat to hit someone. This unawareness is due to the wide classification of assault charges, including threats, which are minor offences, to serious aggravated assault charges.
One of the most basic and commonly charged types of assault in Canada is ‘simple assault” or “assault simpliciter.” This article will explore the offence’s provisions by the Criminal Code, including the definition and the possible consequences one may face.
Before diving into the article, remember that any crimes involving violence are taken very seriously by the criminal justice system. Therefore, when facing simple assault or any other related offence, it’s in your best interest to contact a criminal defence lawyer for legal advice.
What Is Simple Assault
Before looking into simple assault, let’s take a look at assault in general. In its simplest definition, assault is the intentional application of force on someone else without permission. As stated earlier on, there are several categories of assault. However, they are all built on that simple definition.
For a further understanding of what assault entails, section 256(1) of the Criminal Code provides that:
256 (1) A person commits an assault when
- without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly;
- he attempts or threatens, by an act or gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes another person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or
- while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.
As evident from the definition, physical contact does not have to occur to be charged with assault. A simple threat accompanied by a related gesture can result in criminal charges, as long as you have the ability to carry out your threat.
Now that you have the basics of assault charges let’s get back to simple assault.
Simple assault encompasses minor to relatively serious assault offences, including physical altercations such as fistfights and pushing someone to the ground. It also includes attempted or threatened assault on someone. In simple assault offences, relatively minor injuries are involved, if any, e.g., a scrape or bruise, and no weapons are involved.
To be convicted of simple or common assault, the prosecution must prove intent to apply physical force. In case you threaten to use force, they must show that you had the ability to carry out the alleged threat. As the Crown strives to prove their case, an assault lawyer works to defend you by analyzing the charges against you and devising potential defence strategies, such as self-defence or accidental application of force.
Contact Zamani Law to schedule a free consultation with our experienced simple assault lawyer in Toronto.
Penalties for Simple Assault
Simple assault is a hybrid offence, i.e., the Crown elects whether to pursue a summary offence or indictable offence. A summary offence is usually pursued if the assault charges are minor, while an indictable offence is chosen for severe assault cases.
As provided by the Criminal Code, the penalties for simple or common assault upon conviction are as follows:
- Indictable offence: imprisonment for up to 5 years
- Summary offence: up to 2 years in prison
In most cases, especially when the accused has no history or criminal record, simple assault charges are dropped or withdrawn in favour of remedial programs, community service, fines, or peace bonds. However, convincing the Crown that you deserve this requires careful negotiations. At Zamani Law, we have successfully conducted negotiations on behalf of our clients, getting the charges dropped without a trial.
If you or someone you know are facing simple assault charges in Toronto, get in touch with our attorneys to schedule a free evaluation of your charges.
Defences for Simple Assault
When facing simple assault charges, keep in mind that there are several possible defences that an assault lawyer can use to fight the charges levied against you. Therefore, do not hesitate to contact a criminal defence lawyer as soon as you’re charged.
Here are the most common defences to common assault charges:
- Self-defence: you believed that you were being assaulted, and given the circumstance, your actions were reasonable.
- Accidental assault: physical contact with the accuser was accidental, i.e., it was an unintentional application of force. If the accused did not intend to assault the complainant, they are not guilty of assault, e.g., if they accidentally bumped into them in a crowded subway.
- Consent: the accuser consented to the situation that led to their alleged assault.
- Raising reasonable doubt
Note that each defence strategy has certain limitations. For example, consent cannot be a defence if the victim was lied to or threatened.
Contact Zamani Law Simple Assault Lawyer in The GTA
Zamani Law has years of experience defending persons facing assault charges in Toronto and a stellar record of successfully doing so by obtaining favourable results. In every case, our team meticulously analyses all the details to develop strong defence strategies to fight the charges filed against our clients.
If you or someone you know is facing simple assault charges in the Greater Toronto Area, contact our skilled criminal defence lawyers for a free assessment of your case.
When does consent to assault not apply?
There are limitations to when consent can be used as a defence to assault. The accused cannot claim consent in the following circumstances:
- The accused was charged with other forms of assault, such as aggravated assault
- The accused incurred bodily harm
Can the complainant drop assault charges?
In Canada, the complainant has no power to drop assault charges or stop an investigation by the police. Only the Crown has the power to withdraw the charges.
What do I do if the police are going to arrest me?
If you believe that you’re under investigation and the police will arrest you for simple assault, you should retain a criminal defence lawyer immediately. Zamani Law attorneys can take you to the police station to prevent the police from showing up at your workplace or home.
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